Burning Contract, Splash Building

Swarm, Spiral Metamorphosis

June 4 – June 27, 2009


An exhibition of proposals for large-scale public projects by Dennis Oppenheim, the pioneering Land and Body artist. In addition to recently secured commissions in the U.S., Canada, China, and Europe, the exhibition will include Burning Contract, a large model depicting a sixty story building set on fire, an idea based on a rolled swirl of paper.

One featured work, titled Splash Building, depicts a giant water drop crashing into liquid, and bursting upward into a splayed cylinder, which forms the exterior structure of a forty-story building. Oppenheim refers to this piece as an “event sculpture,” having developed its form from the results of a dynamic action. The same applies to Swarm, a vortex caused by the flight path of hundreds of birds, resulting in the perfect lineal form of a cup and saucer six feet in diameter, which will hang in the gallery. In another hanging work, the aptly named Spiral Metamorphosis, various images, such as boats, cars and airplanes, morph into their opposites (sunglasses, hats, etc.) over a progression of states within a spiral concourse.


Some of the projects represented in this exhibition come from a concurrent museum exhibition of Oppenheim’s work at Marta, Hereford, Germany, mounted by Jan Hoet, Director of Documenta, in 1992. The exhibition at the Janos Gat Gallery will present, for the first time in the United States, the new monograph on Oppenheim’s public art projects. The 300 page book, published by Charta, Milan, includes text by Friederike Fast, and a conversation between Vito Acconci, Liam Gillick, Aaron Betsky, and Dennis Oppenheim.

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